Louis van Gaal may be feeling "lousy" at the moment, but he remains convinced his methods will bring success back to Manchester United in the long term.
Van Gaal’s appointment was greeted with great fanfare at Old Trafford this summer, and a near-perfect pre-season tour raised hopes of a tilt at the title.
But after 10 matches, United are 10th in the Premier League, having gained just 13 points.
The fact that David Moyes, who was eventually sacked after just 10 months in charge, had four more points at this stage last year shows just how poor United have been in the first quarter of the season.
“It’s not good enough,” the United boss said.
“I feel, myself, very lousy for the fans firstly, but also for the board because they have a great belief in me and my players and my staff and when you have 13 points out of 10 matches, you are not doing well.”
Unlike Moyes, Van Gaal had a favourable run of fixtures at the start of the campaign. But Van Gaal only took a point from the games against Sunderland, West Brom and Burnley.
Last week’s derby defeat to City, as well as losses against Swansea, Leicester and MK Dons, have also been hard to stomach for the Dutchman.
The pressure on Van Gaal is compounded by the fact he spent over £150 million (€190m) on six new players in the summer.
Southampton and West Ham — tipped by some for relegation — also overhauled their squads in the summer, but they now sit second and fifth in the table respectively.
But Van Gaal, not for the first time this season, demanded patience from the supporters ahead of today’s home game against Crystal Palace.
He thinks his philosophy will make United a better team in the long run.
“Yes, that is what I am doing,” said Van Gaal.
“That is what I have always done at all the clubs. You can listen to the boards of these clubs and what they are saying about me.
“I am training in another way than most of the other managers are doing.
“I train them in their brains. Every player has to know why they are doing things on the pitch.”
Van Gaal insists there will be no quick fix at United.
In fact, the former Netherlands coach says it may even take three years to rebuild a club whose name is synonymous with success.
“We are in a process and that process shall take more than one year,” he said.
“It shall take three years.
“I cannot say when the results are coming. When I did it with Bayern Munich it was December 8. It can be February 1. But it doesn’t matter. This is a process of three years. I have signed for three years.
“It takes a lot of time. But at the end, when they know it and they are doing the things with conscience, the results shall come.
“Our goal (this season) is to get back in the Champions League.”
Van Gaal struck the table in front of him on one occasion during a tense press conference at the club’s training ground in Carrington.
His mood has been soured by the news that he will be without any fit senior centre-halves for today’s game.
Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, who is out for up to 12 weeks with a dislocated shoulder, are all unavailable, while Chris Smalling is suspended following his silly dismissal against City.
When asked whether he would enter the transfer market for a defender in January, Van Gaal, who has been linked with Aston Villa’s centre-back Ron Vlaar, said: “It is clear that a lot of things happen and you can judge better in good times than you can in bad times.
“Maybe you are right (about buying in January) but we have to see that.”
Van Gaal also has injury problems up front.
Radamel Falcao has missed the last two games after receiving a kick to the calf in training and he looks set to miss the Palace game too, much to his manager’s dismay.
Van Gaal was unable to say when the Colombian will be back.
“That is always dependent on the progress on his injury,” he said.
When asked whether Falcao’s injury was serious, Van Gaal replied with a blunt: “No.”
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